I would like to start by saying that I have never been a runner. I’ve given it a go every now in then because I thought I was missing out on some secret that everyone else was in on – but it never stuck.
For my 30th birthday my loving boyfriend bought me an entry to the St Clair Half Marathon in Blenheim. Life is all about pushing the limits so I embraced it!
As a non-runner - here are my tips on the things I found that made all the difference to smashing out a half marathon that you may not hear from the experts.
I’m starting strong with my absolute NUMBER ONE TIP. Just. Keep. Running. Once I worked this out, completing the half marathon was all good. Like honestly – there aren’t any tricks. You just keep running. There are millions of people who have done it before you so you will be fine. Can’t stop, won’t stop!
Embrace the scenery. I resisted running for a long time because it was ‘boring’. But now that’s what I enjoy about it. It’s time out to just think, chill and enjoy what happens around you. You don’t need to run fast, but you do need to enjoy it.
Feel comfy in the small things. By this I mean your socks, sports bra and undies. There is nothing worse than any one of those things not performing how you want them to.
Keep it regular. You don’t need to go all out for every run. But you do need to run regularly. The more you hit the pavement, the less intimidating it is and the more you enjoy it!
Strength training is KEY. It’s not just about fitness. If your muscles hurt before you even get puffed you have some work to do (this is what used to happen to me when I attempted running!). Whether it’s in the gym, or squats at home – get into it, because it’s the fastest way to improvement (only running as training is the longest road to success). I was hitting F45 4 times a week during my training and I think it helped me massively. On the strength days, I would do a lighter run in the evening.
Look out for local running events with shorter distances. I was lucky enough to have the Tai Tapu run festival 15km run within 4 weeks of my half marathon. It was my first race experience so I took the opportunity to get used to having all the people around and the adrenaline of the race. It pumped me up and it was the furthest I had run so far. There are heaps of running events, so get amongst some like-minded people and give it a shot – it will give you way more confidence on race day.
Get social! Personally, I don’t like running alongside people – I’m a lone wolf on the pavement - but I did like having friends who were doing the race as well. It was good celebrate the wins along on the journey as well as commiserate the training troughs. It’s also great to see everyone at the finish line and celebrate with a bevy or two. Everyone doing the race was on their own journey, everyone’s goals were different and celebrating together was epic!
- Celebrate the wins. Before I took on the half marathon the furthest I had run was 10km. During my training, every time I ran the furthest I had ever run before I would be running with a big goofy grin on my face because I knew I was on the right track to achieving my goal. I would get home and tell my boyfriend that today I had a milestone. He didn’t even get sick of it! And it helped keep me motivated right up to race day.
See you at the finish line!
Don't stop until you're proud.